Ever feel like you've been completely forgotten at work? You're working all these long hours, continuing to execute, but it seems like no one is taking notice. You've made it clear that you're ready for the next step (and you've got the outstanding work product to support it), but still it doesn't seem like your voice is being heard.
Particularly with coronavirus still dragging on and many of us still very disconnected from our work teams, it's easy to get lost in the shuffle and feel overlooked. But is there anything you can do about it? Absolutely! I've got five options you can explore to help you get back on the radar:
Schedule a reconnect meeting with your immediate supervisor. Whether you're still working virtually or you're back in a physical office, get on your boss' calendar. In advance of the meeting, prepare your worklist, the status of outstanding items, and the results you've already delivered on your tasks or initiatives. This conversation will allow you to showcase the work you have done, but also make your boss aware of the areas where you need their support to be successful. It's on you to be proactive in engaging your supervisor if you're not receiving what you need.
If you don't feel like the reconnect meeting is sufficient, schedule an update meeting with your supervisor and THEIR boss on one of your prominent or most impactful work items. If you have a hierarchical structure at your workplace and you don't want your boss to feel like you're going around and/or above them, discuss it informally before scheduling to let them know what you would like to cover in the meeting and WHY you think it's important. Your suggestion to meet with their boss may spur some renewed interest from your supervisor and kickstart the collaboration or support you have been missing.
Let's say you don't feel like the reconnect option with your supervisor or the update meeting with management are feasible to do alone. Another option is to partner with some of your other coworkers who may be working on similar or related projects to then create a joint review session with management. While the attention will not be solely on you, your work can be seen alongside others and can potentially spark separate conversations as management seeks to gain better insight into the results each of you have delivered.
But what if collaborating with your coworkers on a joint review session isn't practical? Block some time to speak with your sponsor (if you have one at your company) about your current position and the roadblocks you are facing. Leveraging your sponsor's expertise and guidance can help you to think through solutions that may not have initially come to you. Also, given your sponsor is typically someone with what I call "corporate clout", they can tap into their networks at their level and help facilitate some additional "motivation" for your direct management to better engage with you and become more involved in your progress. Remember, your sponsor wants to see you be successful, so don't be afraid to use that lifeline.
"Julia! I don't have a mentor or a sponsor. What else can I do?" If you have a TRUSTED colleague at work (I repeat, trusted. You don't tell your business to just anybody), particularly someone who has been with the company a while and understands the management culture and unwritten rules, confide in them about how you're feeling. This person can help you to think through other contacts to meet with or ideas on how to better present your work product to ensure it gets the right attention from management. They can also share their network with you to help you find the sponsors and mentors you need, not just to resolve your immediate concerns, but also to provide support throughout your career at that organization.
I know it's frustrating to sit at your desk every day and feel like no one cares about the work you're putting in. But the fact is, YOU do. So use one of the above options to take ownership of your progress and proactively push for the attention and development you deserve. Even if you are planning to quit, you still owe it to yourself to get the recognition and resources you've earned while you're still at your current employer.
Never forget that you don't have to take things lying down. Stand up for your own career!
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